Who am I? Finding the answer to this question takes time, even a lifetime, although opportunities given at a young age to explore, self-reflect and become more self-aware make the journey deeper and richer.
Recently for example, we've been doing a wonderful project around self esteem called "me-myself" with the 4-5 year olds. Each afternoon one of the children has been the focus person and in a group discussion we have discovered many things about them including their physical characteristics, a few of their favourite things, their likes and family. The child then creates a self portrait by first doing a body tracing and then detailing it. Focusing on one child at a time, gives that child the attention of the whole group, and the others learn through thinking about someone else. This has been a great exercise in self identity and a lovely way to welcome new children into the older group as they turn five. We were amazed by the the likeness in the self portraits!
This is just one example of an exercise that supports "self-construction" in children and having an environment that is safe and supportive, like the Montessori classroom, gives the personal freedom needed by all children to express themselves.